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A Journal on Surgery

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Chirurgia 2007 June;20(3):161-4


language: English

Merkel cell carcinoma of the skin. Report of 17 cases

Soma P. 1, Scilletta A. 1, Donia C. 1, Grasso G. 2, Siragò P. 1

1 Unit of Plastic Surgery, Cannizzaro Hospital University of Catania, Catania, Italy 2 Unit of Pathology, Cannizzaro Hospital, Catania, Italy


Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare primary tumor of the skin. MCC usually occurs in sun-damaged skin. The reported annual incidence of MCC ranges from 0.2 to 0.45 per 100 000 . Incidence has tripled since 1986:1986 0.15 per 100,000 and 2001 0.44 per 100,000 . It is 100 times as rare as melanoma. MCC is principally a disease of the Caucasian race. The diagnosis of MCC is based on typical histology representation on haematoxylin-eosin -stained slides together with the results of immunohistochemistry. We present the clinical experience of the Operative Unit of Plastic Surgery of Cannizzaro hospital of Catania,Italy from 1990 to 2006 include 17 cases.The age of the patients range from 63 to 98 years old with a medium age of 76,84 ; they were 9 men and 8 women.The primary localizzation of the tumor is the district head-neck and after the lower limbs, and particularly: 11 in the district head neck,6 in the lower limbs. Ours dissections were variable from a minimum of 0.5 cm to a maximum of 2 cm, depending from the anatomic site.We had 2 recurrances. MCC provvides a big challenge for the clinician because these tumour has a highly malignant potencial for local recurrence, nodal spread and distant spread. These data demonstrate that the natural history of MCC is very variable and dependent on the stage of desease at presentation.

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